Everest Base Camp - Day 2 (Phakding - Namche Bazaar)

Namche Bazaar Travel Blog

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Thamserku Peak - 6618m (21712 ft)

We got started pretty early in the morning, starting to walk right at 8:00 AM.  As we left Phakding we crossed the Dudh Kosi via the first of 5 suspension bridges on our way towards Namche Bazaar.  The trail continued up and down as we progressed upstream along the river, never settling at any one constant elevation.  Of course we were always trending upward.

Lots of people on the trail.  As opposed to the Annapurna Circuit, the Everest Base Camp trek is principally up and back so there were groups of people both ascending like we were and descending all day long.  Throw in all the yak trains and porters and it was almost a traffic jam on the trail in many locations.

Walking between stone walls
  We actually shared the trail with a Japanese expedition making for Base Camp for a summit attempt later in May.

We passed through several more picturesque villages and finally crossed into Sagarmatha National Park proper (Sagarmatha being the Nepali name for Everest - Everest also has a third, Tibetan name, Chomlungma).  While our guide took care of getting our NP/trekking passes, we explored the visitor center with a small 3-D model of the park and all the peaks.  Its amazing how Everest and the surrounding peaks tower over everything else, especially where we are located and realizing how much we have to climb just to reach base camp, let alone the summit of Everest itself.

Shortly after the park entrance we stopped in Jorsale (2740m, 8990 ft).  We crossed the 3rd bridge coming into this village and enjoyed a wonderful lunch and some warm, sunny weather outside on the porch.

Entering Sagarmatha National Park
  After lunch we had the last two bridges in the valley to cross (the last one high, high above the Dudh Kosi) and then began the 600m+ ascent to Namche.  It was a long climb punctuated by many breaks.  I was less affected by the altitude then the others since I had already done the high elevation trekking earlier, but even still it was a hard climb uphill from 2800m (9186ft) to 3440m (11286 ft) at Namche.  A potential first view of Everest in the far distance was obscured by clouds, but views of the surrounding closer peaks like Thamserku were tremendous.

And then finally Namche Bazaar came into view.  An amazingly large town this far from roads, and intricately laid out on the bowl shaped hillside.  As I would find out getting around in this town left one breathless from all the stairs I had to climb getting from one place to another.

Dudh Kosi valley
  After we settled in at the "Holiday Inn" I went out into town and actually found several Internet connections in town.  The connection was moderately priced (150 Rupees/$2 US for 30 minutes) for the area and as speedy or speedier than any connection I was able to find in Kathmandu.

Unfortunately we had some bad news today as well.  While eating dinner, one of our members, Scott, passed out.  Later while recovering he passed out again.  He appeared to recover some after that, butthe unknown cause and the danger in going further and higher meant that he would be heading back to Lukla in the morning with one of the assistant guides instead of going forward.

Views from the suspension bridge
  Everyone else had been sitting in the dining room at the time and it was a very sober and somber group the rest of the evening.

Altitude

It's difficult to explain the effects that altitude has on an individual.  From sluggishness and dizziness to headaches to loss of appetite and a multitude of other symptoms it affects each person in a unique way.  In short the body just isn't getting enough oxygen and is affected by the reduced air pressure and as you go further up this problem is exacerbated.  Some people will start to show mild symptoms as low as 2500m (8200 ft), but as we went over twice as high on both treks we had to be especially careful.

There are two severe cases that can develop - HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema) where fluid begins to build in the lungs and HACE (high altitude cerebral edema) where swelling and fluid affects the brain.

Stupa in Namche Bazaar
  Both cases can be fatal if not treated (by descending) immediately.  Trekkers have died on both the Circuit and on Everest Base Camp for not paying attention to their bodies.

The human body eventually reacts to the altitude by producing additional red blood cells to utilize more of the available oxygen that is inhaled.  Until that time the best way to get more oxygen is to breath more rapidly.  I took acetazolamide (Diamox) on the Annapurna Circuit to help and an occasional tablet on the way up to Base Camp to help me acclimate when I had some symptoms myself.  Overall I felt pretty good about my acclimitization.  I did have the occasional mild headache but beyond that nothing like dizziness or fatigue or shortness of breath at rest.  I did get sick on the way up to the pass during the Annapurna Circuit but all the time I thought that was something I ate as opposed to any affect of altitude.

Namche Bazaar (2)
  The other problem was sleeping at night at the highest lodges.  Thorung Phedi and Gorek Shep were quite sleepless nights for me even though I was generally exhausted both nights.

If one does intend to trek at high altitudes like the Himalayas or the high Andes (or elsewhere), learn to listen to your body and understand the symptoms.  And ascend slowly.  Don't over-exert on the climbs and wear yourself out needlessly.  Take acclimitization days to let you body get used to the altitude.  And just be careful!

Kramerdude says:
Yeah, I changed the permissions on them for a bit which broke the link to them. Problem was when I switched them back, most of them didn't reset. So trying to re-import but have been pretty busy so the process is going slowly.
Posted on: Oct 06, 2012
skippyed says:
None of your photo's seem to be displaying, looks like its not importing them from Flickr
Posted on: Oct 01, 2012
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Thamserku Peak - 6618m (21712 ft)
Thamserku Peak - 6618m (21712 ft)
Walking between stone walls
Walking between stone walls
Entering Sagarmatha National Park
Entering Sagarmatha National Park
Dudh Kosi valley
Dudh Kosi valley
Views from the suspension bridge
Views from the suspension bridge
Stupa in Namche Bazaar
Stupa in Namche Bazaar
Namche Bazaar (2)
Namche Bazaar (2)
Dudh Kosi from Suspension Bridge
Dudh Kosi from Suspension Bridge
Thamserku Peak - 6618m (21712 ft)
Thamserku Peak - 6618m (21712 ft)
Plum tree blossoms
Plum tree blossoms
Monjo
Monjo
Mandala painting inside stupa
Mandala painting inside stupa
Lunchtime spot in Jorsale
Lunchtime spot in Jorsale
More suspension bridge crossings (…
More suspension bridge crossings …
A high wired suspension bridge...
A high wired suspension bridge...
Crossing the suspension bridge.
Crossing the suspension bridge.
Crossing the suspension bridge.
Crossing the suspension bridge.
Namche Bazaar (3)
Namche Bazaar (3)
Namche Bazaar
photo by: halilee